August 20, 2006

Exactly As I Predicted!

Okay, not at all. I’m confused. Cheerful, but confused.

The last three games were basically a perfect storm, in which Red Sox pitching had a no-hold-barred meltdown just as the Yankees offense finally started firing on all cylinders, but it can't last -- the Red Sox aren’t this bad, and I'm afraid the Yankees aren’t this good. As awesome as their hitters have been the last two days, I can’t quite forget that they were absolutely crushed by the Baltimore Orioles’ worst pitchers earlier this week. Anyway, show me the offense that won’t do some serious damage when you give them thirteen walks in a single game. Yankee pitching hasn’t been much to brag about this series, either, and while 20 runs allowed in three games is obviously preferably to 39, these games have not been pretty.

Now, they played three long, exhausting games in about 30 hours, so you can’t really blame them, but when Posada hit his three-run triple to make the score 10-5, it seemed to me that you could palpably feel the Sox players giving up on the game. Again, after 4 hours of sleep and way too much Manny Delcarmen, most of us would do the same, but what remains to be seen is if that spirit will carry over into the rest of the series. I don’t expect that to happen – I hate Curt Schilling with a fiery passion, but this is just the kind of situation he lives for, so you know he’s going to show up. And if the Sox take the next two, they’re just 2.5 games back and still right in the race; even if they only win one, they’re a long way from done. (They're not done if they're swept either, but "a long way from it" would probably be pushing it).

There are some insane stats from the last three games. First of all, apparently, Johnny Damon goes to 11. I was already totally sold on the guy, but this was just sick: 9 for 18, including three doubles, two home runs, a triple, and 8 RBIs. I think you’ve made your point, Johnny. Meanwhile, Bobby Abreu, who seems to have taken roughly 20 seconds to fit in, has been on base 12 of 18 times. Robinson Cano has 10 RBIs (and that guy I can’t talk about anymore this season isn’t doing badly either).

Finally, the Yankees seem to have gotten over their case of Sidney Ponson (antibiotics will usually clear that right up).

Should be a good game tonight, with Mussina going against Schilling and everyone getting some sleep - including, let's all hope, the ESPN announcers. Time to do some pre-game exercises and get my muting finger loose and ready to go.


Devine said...

So...does it take the sweep tomorrow to make it okay for me to bow out and bow down?

Congratulations. Might as well give you the ones for the end of September as well: congratulations!

*limps off*

PS One more win=Yanks take season series.

jonkatz said...

Well. The story here seems to be the mysterious collapse of the mythic, much hyped smart ball machine that Theo and his baseball Daddy Frank built a couple of years ago.
Schilling's Rambo stuff goes far, but it can't carry a whole team. And the Yanks have a new found relentlessness that hasn't been seen in a couple of years. Once again, I am afraid to go to bed early because the odds are they will come up with some way to pull it off. Mo's new nail-biting near death saves are an added edge to sports entertainment. Still, I think the message may be that the big payroll days are over, but also that the Smart Ball craze is a bit overhyped. You will have to built a team. You still have to have a farm system. You still have to have speed, versatility and agility. You still have to have a bullpen. The Yankees ushered in one era in the 90's, then lost it. The A's and Sox ushered in another, but it doesn't seem to have last long. So you do get what you pay for, but it's okay to go for some bargains and used talent. The modern baseball is a flexible and organic thing, shifting and evolving all of the time. As Steinbrenner fades, there is the sense of a smart and common sensical presence on the Yankees, and it must be Cashman.
The Sox seem over for now. In addition to working on their father son psychospiritual baseball style, young Theo and his mentor have two or three years of rebuilding to do. And the Sox people are not going to like it. Yankee fans figure sooner or later they will be back in it, but it's a whole other psyche for Red Sox fans.
It's amazing to see four wins like that. Doesn't really matter what happens to other. It's a massacre.

Devine said...

Yep, a massacre. But I'm not quite so pessimistic as that. There are infield (Pedroia) and outfield (Ellsbury) prospects in the near future, and clearly Papelbon can be a force somewhere, in the rotation or not. That blown save not withstanding, his 8th inning last night (with the bases loaded: flyout, K, K) was a beauty, and he nearly pulled off the 9th. Now if only there were a bullpen of any kind...

"Smart ball" takes time. The fruition of this plan (says the Boston front office) is supposed to come to a string of "dominance" in the late '00s. I think it will always be a close race, but I always, always, always think there's a chance.

I don't like being told how Red Sox fans feel, Mr. Emma's Dad. This "psyche" stuff is overrated, says I. I feel like they'll always be in it. I feel like they still are now, even though they won't win this year.

Meanwhile, it sucks being in a New York office as a Boston fan.

Emma said...

I'm sorry, Dev. It's still not over yet, honestly, but I'll grant you it isn't looking good. I wouldn't accept any congratulations on the season just yet, though.

Devine said...

Aww, that's okay, Emma. I accept the nature of the zero-sum game. You shouldn't waste time feeling sorry for me when you oughta be feeling so good about your team. Probably the best thing to happen to them since Oct. '03 or July 1st '04.

The agony is inevitably tied in with the thrill. Someday I'll be offering consolations and I think you and I both know we can learn to live with that.

Even if I did have to go on my equivalent of a shopping spree (one book, one CD, one videogame) after that last game ended.